Pine bark extracts may offer benefits for ED and diabetes: Study

By Danielle Masterson

- Last updated on GMT

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Related tags Erectile dysfunction Pine bark extract Diabetes Pycnogenol Antioxidant Polyphenols

New research out Slovakia may excite those dealing with erectile dysfunction.

Supplements containing Pycnogenol, the branded French maritime pine bark extract manfucatred by Horphag, ameliorate erectile function and address common conditions related to type 2 diabetes, according to a new study of 53 patients with erectile dysfunction (ED). 

French maritime pine bark extract has been the subject of more than 450 published studies and review articles, which has found the antioxidant and its multiple biomodulating effects improve circulation and blood flow, strengthen the vascular system and manage cholesterol.

A hit below the belt 

“Nearly 60% of men avoid regular visits to the doctor’s office, but perhaps the greatest male motivator for better living is when an issue hits below the belt. Men should always consult with their physician if they are experiencing ED symptoms to make sure it is not a sign of a greater health issue,” ​said Dr. Steven Lamm, medical director of the NYU Langone Preston Robert Tisch Center for Men’s Health, a leading expert on sexual health, and author of The Hardness Factors. “Blood sugar fluctuations from type 2 diabetes can damage nerves and blood vessels required to achieve an erection. Cardiovascular conditions that affect blood circulation also increase the risk of ED. Addressing it sooner reduces the risk of longer-term damage or effects.” 

Indeed, research suggests men with diabetes are three times more likely to develop ED1 and more than half of all men with diabetes will experience symptoms of ED3 at some point in their lives.  Although ED is present in many non-diabetic men, ED may be considered as an early diabetic complication.

Study details

The latest study, published in the Bratislava Medical Journal​, found that daily supplementation with the natural antioxidant can improve the symptoms of ED. 

The double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study was conducted on 53 patients with ED. Participants were split into two groups to examine the effects of Pycnogenol for individuals with erectile dysfunction alone, and for patients with ED combined with type 2 diabetes. 

Using the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF-5) questionnaire and blood samples to measure biochemical markers for diabetes, researchers analyzed participant improvement.  Following the three-month study period, results showed that daily supplementation of 120mg of Pycnogenol significantly improved erectile function in both test groups.

Improvement measures 

  •        45% improvement of erectile function in the diabetes participant group (vs -20% decrease in the placebo group) 
  •        22% improvement of erectile function in the ED-only participant group (vs -16% decrease in the placebo group) 
  •        20% reduction of LDL cholesterol in the diabetes participant group (vs >1% increase in the placebo group) 
  •        14% improvement of LDL cholesterol in the ED-only participant group (vs 4% in the placebo group) 
  •        22% improvement of serum glucose in the diabetes participant group (vs >1% in the placebo group) 

ED affects as many as 30 million men in the United States and about 1 in 4 new cases occur in men under the age of 40, according to the Centers for Disease Control. 

“Patients frequently seek non-pharmaceutical options for managing these conditions, and to reduce their dependence on prescription medications,” ​said Dr. Lamm. “Erectile dysfunction often correlates to other health issues, including stress and lack of sleep, and may be an indicator of a serious underlying condition such as hypertension and diabetes. This study shows the benefits of Pycnogenol for addressing erectile function as well as underlying conditions.” 

The study concluded that Pycnogenol seems to have a beneficial effect on improving ED, especially in patients with diabetes. The authors suggest future larger placebo-controlled studies and longer treatment endpoints.

Source: Bratislava Medical Journal

2019;120(12): 941-944. DOI: 10.4149/BLL_2019_158

“Natural polyphenols improve erectile function and lipid profile in patients suffering from erectile dysfunction”

Authors: B.Trebaticky et al.

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